'The arts have a venue': Community music hub opens in Yellowknife

Mary Kelly's Music Space had its grand opening on Jan. 27. Kelly won the city's Win Your Space YK business competition, landing one year of free rent in a space downtown.

Music Space opened after manager Mary Kelly won the Win Your Space YK business competition

Music Space, a music community centre for people of all ages and abilities, had its grand opening in Yellowknife over the weekend. (Priscilla Hwang/CBC)

"There's music in all of us," they sang. "There's music in all of us."

The refrain was chanted Sunday by visitors to Music Space, a community centre for musicians of all skill levels that recently opened in Yellowknife.

The space is the brainchild of music instructor and hub manager Mary Kelly.

"My vision for this space was that people of all ages and all musical abilities could find a place to make music, and make music in connection with other people," Kelly told guests at this past weekend's grand opening.

Located in the Graham Bromley Building, Music Space includes one 800-square-foot (74 square metres) classroom, two smaller practice rooms, two pianos, a multi-channel mixer and a stereo sound system.

It offers rooms for rent by the hour for classes, jam sessions and people who want to work on their own projects in a setup specially designed for music.

"I'm trying to make a space that's available for all types of music making," said Kelly.

Mary Kelly has wanted to open a community music hub in Yellowknife for five years. (Priscilla Hwang/CBC)

For the last five years, Kelly has been searching for a space for Yellowknife residents to gather, learn and create with each other.

Last spring she applied to the city's Win Your Space YK contest, a competition for new businesses in Yellowknife, Ndilo and Detah, where entrepreneurs submit their business ideas for a chance to win one year of free leased space downtown.

Evidently, Kelly's pitch was a hit.

"Mary's worked hard to get to this point," Mayor Rebecca Alty said at the grand opening. "Her business and her new space is a true community space where people can come together in the middle of our city."

Carmen Braden, a Yellowknife musician and composer, is enthusiastic about having a space in the city that is designated for making music. (Priscilla Hwang/CBC)

Carmen Braden, a Yellowknife musician and composer, is already taking advantage of the new space. She's bringing her 10-month-old daughter to Kelly's music class for young children.

"I'm such a supporter of places that are open to the public to create music in this town," said Braden.

"It means the arts are supported, the arts have a venue," she continued. "Having that gives a town its culture, its life."

Music Space is the fifth business to win a year of free rent through Win Your Space YK.

With files from Priscilla Hwang.


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